Other people's music is the soundtrack to my commute

iPod sound pollution is on the rise, and it's not dodgy headphones that cause it, but people who don't give a damn about others

Share
Related Topics

What will it be today? As I get on the bus each morning, I never know what I'll end up listening to. Will it be 40 minutes of 50 Cent or a bit of Abba? Will it be "Bad Romance" or "Good Vibrations"? Or Sebastian the crab singing his claws out? It's not that I'm a slave to the shuffle function on iTunes, it's that other people's music has become the soundtrack to my commute.

Or, in the case of Sebastian (the Little Mermaid's pal), the soundtrack to someone else's commute. A girl on a friend's train carriage gave everyone an hour's worth of Disney songs because her headphones weren't plugged in properly and everyone thought it was too funny (or too embarrassing) to tell her.

When faced with a wall of sound too loud to bear, when I worry about my own hearing being damaged, let alone that of the person plugged in, I have been known, on occasion, politely to ask unwitting DJs to turn their tunes down. If they don't look like they might punch me. On other occasions I grit my teeth, or share grimaces with other people being forced to listen to White Snake turned up to 11 at eight in the morning.

But while I understand that phones and MP3 players let us zone out from our journeys and give us a solitary bubble in which to travel, rather than listen to tube announcements, or nose-blowing or mothers yelling at their children, they also make us selfish.

Because despite dodgy headphones (or, worse, music played through the phone's speakers) this sort of sound pollution is the fault of people not giving a damn about others.

I'd be horrified if I realised I was blaring out Disney's greatest hits in a packed train carriage ("Under the sea! Under the sea!/Darling it's better, down where it's wetter, under the sea!") but it wouldn't be because everyone knew about my love of cartoon show tunes.

It's because I would be ashamed to invade someone else's personal space with my music. I always test my headphones to see how much sound they spread and turn my music down accordingly.

Or I try to teach by example and not spend entire journeys plugged in and oblivious. (To which the plugged in, obviously, remain oblivious). But that only means more unexpected soundtracks each morning.

"A Whole New World"? Not unless everyone starts turning their music down.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace

Gabriel Sassoon
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

Government hails latest GDP figures, but there is still room for scepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little